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10,000 Visits or 20 New Patients — Which is Better?

What if I told you that www.someRandomDentist.com received 10,000 hits last month?  How about if I said that this fictional site (I hope) received 10,000 visits last month?  Ok, what if I told you that the practice brought in 20 new patients from the website?  While the first two data points sound great, it’s the last one – the 20 new patients – the outcome – that makes a difference.  In Part I of this series on Dental Website Analytics, I’m going to talk about the basics of web analytics, and what you need to know.

You Must Be tracking you Return on Investment (ROI)

Would you keep paying your cable bill if you didn’t get continuous service?  Of course not.  So why would you still pay for web ads or web traffic that doesn’t produce results.  If you take nothing else away from this article, understand that the entire point of web analytics is for you to measure outcomes – or the ROI for your marketing efforts.  If you are not tracking your ROI, then you might as well be throwing money out the window and hoping it lands back in your pocket.

Hits, Visits, and Outcomes

In the early days of the web, we bragged about how many “hits” our website received.  As time progressed, we realized that “hits” weren’t a good metric, so we started to brag about “visits”.  And while visits can in some cases be a good data point, to track, the most important KPI (Key Performance Indicator) is your ROI — or your conversion rate.  So it’s time to change the focus from hits and visits to outcomes.
Taking the example from the introductory paragraph, if www.someRandomDentist.com had 10,000 visits, but didn’t get any new patients, then does it really matter how many visits there were?  No!
Now what if I said there were 100 visits and 20 of those visitors became patients.  Does that make a difference?  Are those 20 new patients worth any less to you because they came from 100 visits instead of 10,000 visits.  Of course not!  So this is why I want you to start thinking about conversions — or outcomes.  The bottom line is that it doesn’t (for the most part) matter how you got to your goal – 100 visits vs. 10,000 visits – it matters that you got there.

Select some goals for your website — and Part II next week

In order to start considering conversions and outcomes, you must have goals for your website.  In Part II of this article I am going to talk about some sample goals that you can have for your website that you can track.  And just so you don’t have to wait until next week to see the goals, I’ll give you one to start:  “What percentage of the people that visit your site contact the office via your contact form?”.  You do have a contact form, right?

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